It’s probably fair to say that there’s never been a better time in human history to grow old.
Which is just as well, given that some studies suggest that one out of two women born in countries like the UK and Sweden next year will live to be a hundred.
If they do indeed live to celebrate the two hundredth anniversary of the Stockholm 1912 Olympics and the centenary of London 2012 that will be due in large part to scientific and medical advances.
Last week I had the privilege to host a meeting, now in its third year, bring together leading Swedish pharmaceutical companies and research institutes, notably AstraZeneca and Karolinska, with about a dozen UK life sciences companies.
UK life sciences is a world leading high-tech industry, investing over £5 billion in R and D in the UK. 30% of all European biotech companies are based in the UK and over a third of all biopharmaceutical clinical trials take place in the UK.
The Embassy’s Trade and Investment team brought together pharmaceutical companies, academics and biotech innovators, for a networking event in the hope that they would forge partnerships, which might in years to come lead to miraculous new medicines and other treatments.
I described it, rather irreverently, as “speed dating for science”, but the scientists were kind enough to say that that’s exactly what it was.
Like real speed dating (so they tell me….) the failure rate is high. But the successes are fantastic.
So the high risk and long lead times don’t daunt these dedicated professionals and the work they do should mean longer and happier lives for us and for future generations.